Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Chinese Company 3D Prints a Full Size 2-person Boat

ST Medical Devices

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Imagine a scenario where you are stranded on a deserted island, with nothing but a tablet, unlimited 3D printer filament, and a solar powered 3D printer. What could you possibly do to survive? Well, if you have the correct design file, you can now print a real, usable boat in order to escape the island.  The scenario is quite outrageous, but who would have thought we would be 3D printing boats one day?

boat-main

The 3D Printed Boat

Back in May, we reported on a Chinese company named, Sanya Industrial Innovation Design Center (SIIDC), who developed a huge 3D printer that is capable of printing out large objects, the size of cars and boats. Just this week, one of the first major prints to come off of this 3D printer was announced, and it was of all things, a real floating boat.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen a boat 3D printed. Back in March, a company called Grass Roots Engineering released a video of an entire kayak which had been 3D printed using ABS filament.  In the video, it was shown to float quite well.

SIIDC 3D Printer printing out the boat

SIIDC 3D Printer printing out the boat

While some media outlets in China are saying that this is the first 3D printed boat in China, we have no way of confirming this. This latest 3D printed boat was printed on a printer that is said to have build dimensions of 6 x 4 x 2 meters, although back in May it was reported that the printer had build dimensions of 6 x 3.5 x 3.5m. The boat that was printed measures 2 meters in length by 0.8 meters wide, and weighs approximately 35 kg. It was printed in a nylon-like material, and can hold up to 2 adults at once, while on the water. It is not known if the company plans to sell these boats, or if this was just some sort of publicity stunt in order to try and sell their large 3D printers.

3D Printed Boat

3D Printed Boat

One interesting fact about the 3D printer used to create this boat, is that it doesn’t require spools of filament, but rather can be fed with raw materials, in the form of pellets or ground up thermoplastics.  It should be interesting to see what else this company uses their large 3D printer for. Could they perhaps be contemplating a car or small SUV next? Your guess is as good as ours.

Discuss this latest Chinese 3D printing project in the 3D printed boat forum thread on 3DPB.com

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[Source: Xinhua News Agency]

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